Blackwater Elite upset the Phoenix Fuel Masters, 94-87, to open their campaign in the Philippine Basketball Association (PBA) Season 41 Philippine Cup on a high note at the Smart-Araneta Coliseum in Quezon City on Wednesday.
The Elite opened the third frame with Nard John Pinto completing his three-point play as JC Intal drew the foul, 48-43. Mac Belo scored a basket in the paint area in the 11:05 minute mark, 50-43.
With Kyle Pascual giving away the foul, William Wilson sank both his free throws with 8:08 minutes remaining in the quarter, 52-47. Phoenix’s Simon Enciso scored a corner three-pointer, keeping Blackwater at bay in the 7:47 minute mark, 54-50.
The Fuel Masters completed a 5-0 run coming from William’s corner trey and Intal’s layup to tie the ball game at 61-all.
James Ryan Sena of Blackwater took the lead after draining a jumper with 4:29 minutes left in the quarter, 63-61.
Gelo Alolino hit another three-pointer for Phoenix, but Dylan Ababou answered back with a trey, 66-64.
From the corner, Ababou closed the third period with another three-pointer, 71-69.
In the fourth frame, Blackwater took advantage of the Phoenix’s penalty with Enciso drawing the fifth team foul as Dennis Miranda banked on his free throws, 89-83.
A goal tending violation was called on the Fuel Masters, stopping Art dela Cruz’s shot with 27.9 seconds left in the match. William hit another layup in the 23.4 second mark, 94-87.
Earlier, Blackwater had a two-point cushion against the Fuel Masters after 24 minutes of action with Ronjay Buenafe breaking away from the 43-all deadlock after sinking his basket, 45-43.
Belo top scored for Blackwater with 17 points and nine rebounds. Miranda and Dela Cruz combined for 23 markers and 13 boards.
Enciso led Phoenix with 25 points, followed by Intal with 12 markers. Alolino and Wilson contributed 12 and 11 points, respectively.
With the victory, the Blackwater Elite currently hold a 1-0 win-loss card, while the Phoenix Fuel Masters have a 0-1 record.
“Best start for Blackwater. Our best start in any conference and it’s a new season for us as well as I’ve said, we have new players, players that we really wanted on our line up and we have renewed energy and we have new hope. All the excitement, should I say, must be converted to W’s on actual games. It’s hard if you’re only excited and you play well. It has to be translated to W’s and that’s where hard work begins,” said Blackwater head coach Leo Isaac.